Saturday, February 16, 2008

THE UNKINDEST CUT

Hantu Laut

Read the following article from the Economist and see for yourself the hypocrisy of the Western nations who have been outspoken about conservation and preserving the rainforests of the world.

They blame the poor and less developed nations for extracting forest resources to generate revenues without making an effort to help those countries minimise the ecological damage.Much have been said about its conservation but very little had been done to actually conserve it.

From the jungles of Borneo to the deep lust forests of the Amazon, indiscriminate exploitation of the forests have been going on for decades without any sincere effort to minimise it other than providing lip service.

Those like the American charity, Conservation International who are prepared to finance conservation but is limited by its financial resources, wanted the cheapest price possible, which become meaningless to the host country as it does not help in any economic improvement of the country concerned.

Corporations and NGOs do not have sufficient financial resources to undertake this mammoth and non-profit endeavours.It has to be an agglomeration of rich and developed countries putting their resources together.A reasonable conservation fee should be paid to the host country that have agreed to conserve its tropical rainforests for the benefits of the global community

The best possible scenario would be to establish a new body under the auspices of the United Nations and make the top 20 richest countries as permanent members and make them contribute certain percentage of their GDP to the rainforest conservation fee.The selected forests should than be made as World Heritage Site with no commercial activity allowed other than low impact eco tourism.

Here is an opportunity for them to help poorer countries to protect and preserve pristine forests from destruction and none had taken up the offer for a chicken feed sum of US$1.6 million a year.

If the conservationists can't pay this meagre sum than they shouldn't complain if the logging company buy the rights to destroy it.

The government of Cameroon will soon have to sell the pristine tropical rainforest of 830,000 hectares to the loggers to generate revenue for the country, if no rich nation, big corporation or NGOs come forward to conserve it.

The rich Western nations especially the US, Japan and Western European countries should put their money in their mouths.



The price of conservation

The unkindest cut

Feb 14th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Cameroon wants to sell a forest, but conservationists don't want to buy it


FOR rent: 830,000 hectares of pristine tropical rainforest. Rich in wildlife, including forest elephants and gorillas. Provides a regionally important African green corridor. Price: $1.6m a year. Conservationist tenant preferred, but extractive forestry also considered. Please apply to the Cameroonian minister of forestry.

That, in essence, is what the government of Cameroon has been offering since 2001 in an attempt to make some money from a forest known as Ngoyla-Mintom. The traditional way would be to lease the land to a logging company. But Joseph Matta, the country's forestry minister, would rather lease it to a conservation group. The trouble is, he cannot find one that is prepared to take it off his hands.

The idea of conservation concessions has been around since 2000. It was introduced by an American charity called Conservation International, which realised the going rate for logging concessions was often so low that it could afford to outbid the foresters. It has since leased forests in Guyana—where it has 80,000 hectares of Upper Essequibo—and in Peru, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Mexico. But even in 2001 it reckoned that at $2 a hectare Ngoyla-Mintom was too dear. Its land in Essequibo costs a mere 37 cents a hectare.

Mr Matta, of course, thinks Ngoyla-Mintom is worth every penny. Indeed, the price has gone up. The government now wants additional money to compensate Cameroon for forgoing the jobs and local development that come with logging. The forest is pristine habitat of a sort likely to contain some extremely valuable pieces of timber. It also connects three other large protected areas (see map), and thus forms an important part of a regionally important green corridor. Mr Matta says that if one group of conservationists or another doesn't cough up soon, he really will be forced to get on the phone to the loggers.

A compromise put forward by the World Wide Fund for Nature has failed to find favour. The WWF suggested keeping an unexploited core of Ngoyla-Mintom while the rest is opened to limited “sustainable” hunting and forestry. The quid pro quo would be a lower rent. Read more.....


3 comments:

Zawi said...

HL,
Greedy Malaysian loggers will be heading towards Cameroon soon offering more than the USD1.6 m offered.

Hantu Laut said...

Pak Zawi,

If they do, I bet it would be the 'kailu' from Sarawak.

Use to be the Americans, now they are the biggest in the world.Every where they go, not only they screw up the forests,they also screw up the host country, by underdeclaring the volume and under invoicing the prices.

The corrupt politicians and civil servants get their ill-gotten gains and the country lost its much needed revenue.

eco challenger said...

Yes, lots of talk.The Western nations want those poor countries to stay poorer so they can be exploited.

The proposal to get the rich nations to pay to preserve the rainforests is the most sensible one I have seen so far.It should be the responsibility of the global community to share the costs to save our planet.